Serena Maneesh | 03.12.06

Aren’t concerts supposed to be easy to swallow? At what point is destruction still considered music?

 

There have been enough snarky comments about how ridiculous it is that an actual genre of music, an actual definable sound, is based upon how the artist being referred to stares at his or her feet while performing. But leaning against a row of Jeff Buckley discs at Vintage Vinyl, and then peering through the smoky blue haze of the Creepy Crawl later that same night, it makes perfect sense. Serena Maneesh doesn’t keep their eyes affixed on their Converse and, admittedly, neither do I, but when confronted with this much pure noise, what are we supposed to do? There’s absolutely no danceability here, and what head-banging some people might try will quickly be reduced to what looks like nodding, and then simply stillness. It seems like the compulsive urge is to look down, look up, or even look away—as if the music itself is a physical force, manipulating the crowd with its sheer magnitude.

Serena Maneesh’s live act pushes the limits of what is considered to be entertainment. With so much sound, it’s difficult to distinguish between riffs and refrains, difficult to make out the details of a song so clear on record, but so distorted live. This is high contrast music, without room for a grey area.

Aren’t concerts supposed to be easy to swallow? At what point is destruction still considered music? What constitutes a good show anyway? Is it counting 17 effects pedals onstage, plus more for the violinist? Is it being awestruck by the frenzied actions of the band: one guitarist playing his instrument with a butter knife, the other wielding it like a weapon and grinding it into the floor? Is it being so completely immersed in sound that it’s as if a quiet world never existed? Is it staggering outside afterwards, breathless and eyes wide, not fully understanding what just happened?

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